Scales of Justice

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A former Metro Corrections inmate whose baby died after she gave birth in an ambulance while her hands and feet were shackled has been paid $5,000 by the city to settle a federal lawsuit.

Mariah Reed also settled with the jail's medical provider, Correct Care Solutions, but that amount is not public record.

Reed, then 24, was more than 20 weeks pregnant when she began complaining of contractions and severe pain during the early morning hours of July 28, 2017.

A federal lawsuit filed in 2018 claimed it wasn't until 11 hours later that an ambulance was called and Reed was taken to the hospital.

While on the way to the hospital and "completely restrained," Reed gave birth, the suit claimed. Around two hours later, the child died at the hospital.

Reed claimed she was strapped down with both her hands and feet shackled while giving birth.

"It was completely unjustified and inhumane," said attorney Jim Ballinger, who represented Reed. 

Last month, the city settled the lawsuit with Reed and her infant's estate.

The June 2 settlement, obtained by WDRB News under a Kentucky open records request, prohibits any future litigation from this incident against the city and former Metro Corrections Director Mark Bolton.

"It is understood and agreed that the payment and settlement is for the compromise of a doubtful and disputed claim and it not to be construed as an admission of liability on the part of Mark Bolton, by whom liability is expressly denied," according to the settlement. 

Attorney Greg Belzley, who also represented Reed, said he is "pleased with the settlement" but could not comment on specific details.

"Any case like this is just very tragic and we're glad we were able to resolve it," Belzley said in an interview Friday. "A pregnant woman who has experienced severe pain for 11 hours is not at any risk of escape on the way to the hospital, and there is not justification for restraining someone in that position."

Kentucky legislators passed a law in 2018 prohibiting jails and prisons from shackling pregnant inmates or restraining them in any way while on the way to the hospital. 

Copyright 2021 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.

Digital Reporter

Jason Riley is a criminal justice reporter for WDRB.com. He joined WDRB News in 2013 after 14 years with The Courier-Journal. He graduated from Western Kentucky University. Jason can be reached at 502-585-0823 and jriley@wdrb.com.